Kyle Lohse: Ranking Most Likely Destinations for Free Agent Pitcher
Kyle Lohse remains one of the top starting pitchers on the free-agent market after going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 211 innings for the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
The signings of Zack Greinke with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Anibal Sanchez with the Detroit Tigers, Ryan Dempster with the Boston Red Sox and Dan Haren with the Washington Nationals have really opened up the market for Lohse, but he still hasn’t decided where he wants to pitch in 2013 and beyond.
Here are some of the teams interested in signing the right-hander this offseason, ranked by least likely to most likely.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals feel as if the time to contend is now and are going full force ahead to try and do so. That means acquiring solid starting pitching talent, something Kansas City has lacked in year’s past. Kansas City made their first notable move of the offseason trading for Ervin Santana, formerly with the Los Angeles Angels.
Lohse would be a costly addition for the Royals, but they were still in touch with him, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports:
Royals likely can't afford Anibal or Lohse unless they trade some salary. They have stayed in touch with both, though.— DKnobler (@DKnobler) December 5, 2012
It seems the Royals didn’t want to spend the money on Lohse and decided to trade top prospect Wil Myers for Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields in a six-player deal instead. Adding Lohse to the rotation now seems extremely unlikely unless Kansas City wants to take on significant payroll.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels traded for right-hander Zack Greinke at the July 31 trade deadline last season hoping to lock him up long-term. That didn’t happen and Greinke ended up signing with Los Angeles’ crosstown rivals, the Dodgers.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports, Greinke was their top choice:
#Angels have checked in on virtually every SP: Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Dempster, Joe Saunders. Greinke first choice.— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) December 4, 2012
As previously mentioned, the Angels traded away Ervin Santana—but later made up for it by acquiring Tommy Hanson from the Atlanta Braves. With the hopes of boosting the overall team after the loss of Greinke, the Angels went out and signed Josh Hamilton to a monster deal.
The starting rotation could still use another arm to help contend with the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics next season and by using process of elimination, only Lohse, Edwin Jackson and Joe Saunders are still on their list of potential acquisitions.
The Rangers have lost a ton of talent this offseason and have yet to do much of anything thus far. Texas failed to sign Greinke and Hamilton—arguably the top two players on the market—and lost catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli to free agency as well.
Texas already has a very good starting rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, among others, but the Rangers need to make up for losing two of their best players. They could do so with Lohse, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
greinke going to dodgers might be good news for hamilton. #rangers might also look at bourn, sanchez, lohse too, tho— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2012
Sanchez has already signed with the Tigers so that leaves Lohse as a potential addition to Texas’ staff.
The only way that the Rangers will be able to top the incredible lineup of the Angels is through deep pitching, and adding Lohse provides that.
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